Equity & Inclusion

Grief Support for All

We are committed to ensuring that our grief support resources and peer support groups are welcoming, accessible, relevant, and meaningful for all members of our community.

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Our peer support groups are always provided at no cost for families.

Our families have access to support and resources for the rest of their lives.

As a leader in the field, we hold ourselves responsible for improving access and the cultural relevance of our peer support groups, our education and community work, our professional training, and our resources.

Dougy Center advocates for equitable and inclusive peer grief support programs that reflect the diverse and very personal needs of each individual.

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More at-risk of having someone die.

Black children and teens are more likely to experience the death of a parent or sibling than their White counterparts (Umberson 2017). Statistics also show that people of color are disproportionately affected by health disparities, including the COVID-19 pandemic, homicide, and gun violence. And while many of us can relate to our grief being disregarded, for Black youth and youth with marginalized identities, grief not only goes unacknowledged, but is often penalized. The result is a concept Dr. Tashel Bordere has identified as suffocated grief, which is rooted in systems of oppression and discrimination.

To learn more about Dr. Bordere's work to ensure that Black youth and those with marginalized identities are equitably supported in their grief, watch this video and listen to this episode from our podcast, Grief Out Loud.

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Mission & Values

Dougy Center: The National Grief Center for Children & Families is committed to providing support in a safe place where children, teens, young adults, and their family members who are grieving before and after a death can share their experiences. Through our Pathways program we provide a safe place for families facing the advanced serious illness of a family member. With this mission and with the well-being of all grieving families in our community in mind, we will demonstrate Dougy Center’s commitment to equity and inclusion and specifically, fair and inclusive access to meaningful and relevant resources and services for all people who are grieving in our community. We are committed to engaging in intentional dialogue to foster a community based on our organizational values of respect, integrity, stewardship, and excellence.

Why Equity & Inclusion Matter

As a member of the greater Portland, Oregon community of nonprofits serving children and families, we seek to understand how our grief support services can complement and extend community and public health efforts to address persistent and documented disparities based on such characteristics as race, gender, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, culture, disability, age, creed, religion, economic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and all other identities represented in our diverse community. We are aware that we, as an organization, do not exist separate from the oppressive systems perpetuating these disparities that privilege some individuals and communities and create barriers and harm to others. We know that as a result of this, some individuals may have had easier access to our organization and that others may have experienced challenges or barriers to access — be it meaningful and relevant services, employment, or volunteer opportunities. In recognition of this disparity, and the fact that families do not grieve in a vacuum untouched by cultural and societal influence, Dougy Center will continue to clarify and articulate organizational values, policies, procedures, and practices addressing issues of equity and inclusion for staff, board members, volunteers, program participants, and stakeholders, including the community at large. Our goal is to provide a safe place for all children and families who are grieving a death, with increased recognition of societal, cultural, and historical factors that may impact grief and access to services.

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Our Commitment

Our commitment is to engage staff, board members, volunteers, program participants, and the broader community in the dialogue as described, and to take active steps toward building an organization that is representative of the families in our community. Dougy Center commits to actively supporting equity and inclusion in all facets of our organization, both internally and externally, through our outreach, services, policies, procedures, and organizational culture. This commitment is articulated within Dougy Center’s current strategic plan, thereby holding ourselves accountable with measured actions that lead to meaningful organizational shifts occurring over time.

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Vision & Future Direction

We recognize that this work will entail ongoing conversation and action that will include all organizational stakeholders, and that this transformative process will be uncomfortable at times with no ‘quick fix’. We also acknowledge that as a community we will make mistakes as we explore how issues of equity and inclusion inform, and are informed by, the services we provide within the context of the greater community. We will continue to use an equity lens to help guide these conversations, as well as utilize outside supports as we develop outcomes and strategies for our equity and inclusion efforts.

We welcome your input and would love to hear from you with questions, comments, or suggestions on how our childhood bereavement programming can be more inclusive and equitable. Email us at help@dougy.org.